You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The Art of the Handshake.

Someone, let us call him Pontoon because of his oddly sized feet, has grown up isolated from the world, one day through a conveniently vague confluence of circumstances he somehow emerges into the real world. Indeed no less a place than the offices of Law, a large subtly named solicitors. Bob Law the owner, delighted at Pontoon’s feet and seeing something of himself in the younger man approaches him. Placing one hand on the chap’s shoulder he grabs Pontoon’s hand and violently shakes it around. Pontoon vows never to come to the city again.

A ridiculous, utterly baffling social anachronism that without any prior context is a ludicrous way to greet a person. Granted it’s slightly less intrusive than the dog’s favoured greeting but certainly no more ridiculous than grabbing someone’s ankle or pointing at their ears. It’s odd. However it begins and ends every professional and many social interactions so make yourself King or Queen of the ridiculous with my indispensible guide to shaking hands.

Wet fish

Given all the literature and informational YouTube videos and the general understanding that exists within the collective consciousness I’m always surprised by how frequent and unpleasant it is when one is presented with a wet fish rather than a solid handshake.

  1. A handshake should be firm, last for no more than 3 shakes and include the whole hand.
  2. Firm, in so much as there’s something to grip on to, not that you are trying to prove anything and crush their hand.
  3. It should also be presented straight forward, offering them the hand with palm down suggests you are trying to establish dominance, palm up is submissive.
  4. Never double hand it, never put one hand over the top of theirs once the shake is ‘on’ unless you are a Vegas mobster. It’s a power assertion move but is over familiar and inappropriate for a business setting. However, if they do it to you at the end, that’s actually quite a good thing.
  5. Do not, as some people like to do, present just your fingers, almost like you’re the Pope and are waiting for the person to kiss the papal seal.
  6. Do not present a wet limp hand, it’s most off putting and people will draw conclusions that you are equally wet and uninspiring based on that interaction.

That’s it, in the kingdom of wackering people’s hands around you are now sitting pretty in the throne room. Get out there and shake those arbitrary arm feet.

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